Grey nomads have been identified as the possible solution to the huge employment vacancy problem across regional Queensland.
The State Government believes mature-aged travellers could hold the key to filling tens of thousands of jobs, and it’s urging the Commonwealth to examine tax laws to allow them to work without damaging their pension and superannuation payments.
Treasurer Cameron Dick told the Courier-Mail that taxation issues needed to be looked at.
“It probably comes down to that point you make about taxation and super, to ensure that people who are willing to work are not penalised through the taxation system to allow them to do that work, so that’s a proposal the Federal Government should be looking at,” he said. “If we’ve got grey nomads willing to stay in a community for an extended period of time, to be part of that workforce then I think we should be encouraging that through the taxation system.”
The Treasurer said there was ‘a whole range of mechanisms that we should be looking at as a nation to try and support ensuring there’s a skilled workforce in those communities that need it’.
The Courier-Mail reports that an estimated 35,000 jobs-plus are currently unfilled across regional Queensland, the highest number of job vacancies since the global financial crisis.
Longreach Mayor Tony Rayner told the Courier-Mail that he wanted the State and Federal governments to explore how places like Longreach could potentially use the 50,000 grey nomads streaming through the town each year.
“Collectively, we have to work together to resolve that and that might be a case of not only looking at some of the schemes like the Pacific Island labour strategy scheme but looking at the grey nomads that are retired professionals,” he told The Courier-Mail. “How many of those are interested in part-time, casual work and can we have those fill the gap.”
He agreed that the way working might impact a person’s superannuation and other finances should be investigated.
“It is both a state and federal government responsibility but collectively, with local government, we need to work together to resolve an issue that’s impacting on all three tiers of government,” he said. “And it’s a good problem to have: Too many jobs, not enough people.